Turning the Holiday Season Into One Long Cyber Monday

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Metrics & Measurement
Customer Experience
So you've survived Black Friday--the long lines, the impassible parking lots, and the in-store brawls over door buster sales. It's time to settle in to a comfy chair, or close your office door, and start shopping online on this Cyber Monday.

So you've survived Black Friday--the long lines, the impassible parking lots, and the in-store brawls over door buster sales. It's time to settle into a comfy chair, or close your office door, and start shopping online on this Cyber Monday.

According to Forrester, today is poised to break records. In fact, Cyber Monday alone is expected to take in $2.27 billion of the expected $78.7 billion that will be spent online shopping in the U.S. this entire holiday season. That's 15 percent more than what was spent in 2012. And an Alliance Data study reveals that 62 percent of consumers plan to purchase on Cyber Monday, with 85 percent planning to spend the same or more than last year.

But as digital sales grab a larger piece of the holiday season's retail sales, Cyber Monday is becoming out of fashion as U.S. retailers report sales being spread out from Thanksgiving to the week before Christmas. A 2013 Holiday Retail Survey from Adobe shows that places like France will see a peak in online sales on January 8 and online sales in Europe as a whole will soar on December 9.

Much of those online sales stem from mobile and tablets. IBM reported that mobile traffic over the weekend accounted for 40.9 percent of all online traffic, up more than 35 percent compared to the same period last year.

These recent stats show the emergence of two trends: mobile is becoming a primary driver of holiday sales and there's no one particular day to market to customers. This begs the question: Are retail marketers' campaigns optimized for mobile this holiday season?

Bernard Luthi, the CMO and COO of Rakuten.com, told me last week that he's been through countless Black Fridays and Cyber Mondays over the past 15 years and he's noticed that the shopping trends have changed over the past couple years. "For the longest time, shoppers went out and did the retail thing on Friday morning. And Monday morning when they went back to work, if they hadn't found the deal, they'd go online and search for the same products. "Ultimately there was that separation--Black Friday belonged to brick and mortars and Cyber Monday belonged to online...over the past two years that has changed," he said. People are searching deals on the Web prior to Black Friday. The balance is swaying in the favor of online retail."

Because mobile is an enormous driver of online holiday browsing and purchasing, Rakuten, has designed an integrated marketing effort across its mobile platform with a similar look and feel to its online promotions that are easy to find. "We want to make sure we capitalize on these behavioral trends this year," Luthi said. "We have to make sure they can find what they're looking for relatively easily and make sure their experience is easy."

Is your company prepared to deliver a mobile marketing experience this holiday shopping season? What's your strategy?

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION